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Northwest Elementary, Hudson Middle to relocate for renovations

The construction projects are scheduled to take a year.
 
Hudson Elementary School is slated to close in the fall. But students from Hudson, though reassigned to Northwest Elementary, will continue to attend classes there for another year while the Northwest campus undergoes renovations.
Hudson Elementary School is slated to close in the fall. But students from Hudson, though reassigned to Northwest Elementary, will continue to attend classes there for another year while the Northwest campus undergoes renovations. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published Feb. 5, 2020|Updated Feb. 5, 2020

HUDSON — Students assigned to Pasco County’s Northwest Elementary and Hudson Middle schools won’t be attending classes in their usual places next fall.

To accommodate major remodeling projects, district officials have decided to relocate students in those schools to different nearby campuses for the 2020-21 academic year, which begins in August.

Northwest will operate at Hudson Elementary, which is slated to close and be incorporated largely into Northwest anyway. Some parents and staff members suggested using the Hudson Elementary buildings during the construction as a way to ease the transition to the new arrangement.

Hudson Middle will conduct its business at Crews Lake Middle, about 8 miles to the east. Crews Lake, which sits at less than 60 percent of its capacity, also hosted Shady Hills Elementary when that school received its makeover seven years ago. It currently houses Pasco eSchool in one of its wings.

Both campuses will have portables to handle any overflow.

Hudson Elementary is built for 561 students, while the two schools have a combined total of about 1,150. (Some Hudson students are expected to be rezoned to Gulf Highlands Elementary, though, meaning the number won’t be that high.) Crews Lake Middle has a capacity of 1,344, while the two schools together enroll just over 1,500 children.

District officials looked into other options for the projects. At one point, Hudson Middle was expected to undergo its upgrades after Northwest.

But planners found that they could get the work done at the same time, saving some money, so they decided to expedite the program, district spokesman Steve Hegarty said. Because of the extensive construction, he said, students have to move for their safety.

Some discussions took place over whether to do the work around the students, as occurred at Land O’ Lakes High School starting in 2016. That decision extended the project’s duration — it only recently finished — and increased the price tag.

Consolidating the work on the Hudson campus and moving the classes off-site “was seen as a much more viable option,” Hegarty said.

Several details still need to be worked out, particularly for the two middle schools, which would continue to operate separately. Those include bell and bus schedules, cafeteria access and other specifics.

The projects are scheduled to be completed in time for the 2021-22 school year. At that time, the Hudson school complex is expected to begin offering more community services, add more challenging courses through the Cambridge Programme, and take other steps to address concerns relating to poor performance in the region’s schools.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at jsolochek@tampabay.com.